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2018;31-58. doi: 10.1108/LM-02-2017-0014.

Do libraries save LGBT students?.

R S Wexelbaum

UIID-AD: 4887 DOI: 10.1108/LM-02-2017-0014


Purpose: Multiple research studies show a positive correlation between library usage and student retention. At the same time, no formal research studies focusing on the effect of library usage on LGBT student persistence and retention exist. The purpose of this paper is to provide information about today’s LGBT undergraduates, their personal and academic needs, and how academic libraries may meet those needs. Design/methodology/approach: The author will challenge the grand narrative perpetuated by LGBT librarians that “libraries save [LGBT] lives” through a review of existing research literature on LGBT undergraduates and their personal and academic needs, where libraries play a role in LGBT undergraduate life, and whether or not academic libraries actually meet those needs. Findings: No formal research studies on how libraries play a role in the retention of LGBT undergraduates exist. While LGBT undergraduates share many similarities with their peers, they seek out resources and spaces that the library may be able to provide independently or through collaborations with other units on campus. The existence of campus LGBT resource centers may impact LGBT undergraduate use of libraries. Practical implications: The author will provide suggestions for academic libraries to create appropriate resources, services, and spaces for LGBT undergraduates so that they persist at their institutions and graduate. Originality/value: This is the first research paper to address the role that academic libraries play in LGBT student retention. © 2018, © Emerald Publishing Limited.

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